Overexertion topped the first-annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, representing 25.6% of the total costs in 1998, the last year for which data is available.
When the indirect cost of workers compensation claims are added to the $38.7 billion in direct costs identified by the report, the total economic burden of workplace injuries/illness is estimated at $125 billion to $155 billion.
According to the Safety Index, overexertion, falls and being struck by an object are among the leading causes of workplace accidents.
The other leading causes of workplace injuries/illness include:
- 11.46% – Falls on same level ($4.4 billion)
- 9.35% – Injuries resulting from bending, climbing, loss of balance, slipping without falling ($3.6 billion)
- 9.33% – Falls to lower level, such as falling from a ladder or over a railing ($3.6 billion)
- 8.94% – Being struck by an object ($3.4 billion)
- 6.10% – Repetitive motion ($2.3 billion)
- 5.46% – Highway accidents ($2.1 billion)
- 4.92% – Being struck against an object, such as walking into a door ($1.9 billion)
- 4.18% – Becoming caught in or compressed by equipment ($1.6 billion)
- 0.92% – Contact with temperature extremes ($.3 billion)
The Safety Index is based on the most recent data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance.
Additional information, and possible preventive steps